Christian's Little Jaunt
Breathtaking. Pure and simple. But more of that in a minute. After another flight from Singapore to Sydney (on which I had a total result. Upgraded to a Club single traveller seat - more legroom than Shaquille O'Neal would need, celebrated with a bottle of bubbly which was on the house! or plane more accurately), then another over a pristine turquoise sea basking in sunshine to New Zealand, I arrived at Christchurch airport 28 hours after leaving Heathrow. Pretty knackered but still like a kid about to go on his first rollercoaster. Missed all connections to the mountains so stayed last night (Sunday) in a cool chilled hotel in central Christchurch. 5 minutes after checking in, I decided to try all the local draught beers, 5 different sorts, and the draught cider, while getting the low-down on NZ from the fit barmaid, then treated myself to some local lamb which was genuinely superb in a nearby restaurant. Due to being bushed and having had 6 pints in about an hour, I sensibly had a pint as a starter and then ordered a bottle of red to myself which went down pretty sharpish too. Can't fully recall finishing my food, and have only the vaguest of recollections of sitting down with an Irish family who were eating at the next table and nicking some of their food. A good craic I think, but don't even remember leaving to crawl back to the hotel room - needless to say woke up this morning at half 5, fully clothed (trainers too) with the footy build-up on the telly. Back to the first word of this entry. What a journey! Christchurch to Wanaka is 7 hours by coach, and I enjoyed every single minute! You know you're in a genuinely special place when you look around you, 360 degrees, and the only man-made objects you can see are the coach you're riding in and the road it's driving on. Absolutely astonishing, amazing; there really are no adjectives and superlatives available that can do this wilderness any kind of justice. It IS Mordor. By my reckoning, there was a half-hour long stretch where we didn't see any people, cars or houses, just sheep and mountains and lakes. I'm going to need another memory card for the camera, it's virtually full already (which I forgot to bring to this internet cafe so you can't see anything yet) - it's completely picture-postcard stuff. So, now in Wanaka. It's basically a huge lake with mountains on 3 of its sides and this small town on the other. There's a great atmosphere here, I can tell this is going to be a good 2 months. The gaff's OK, my bunk is huge, so much so there's currently a gymnast on it practising her beam routine. But it'll do. Off t'pub tonight with some of the backpacker gang, then tomorrow...CARDRONA! I've also spotted a heli-ski operation on my travels through town - 700 NZ$ for a 4-drop day in the Harris Mountains, untouched faces, pure powder. Would be rude not to really.....